Gowda credits his interest in wood to his childhood. Raised on the slopes of Western Ghats, a mountain range in southern India, Gowda has a knowledgeable connection to the material by way of his community. “Almost everyone knew how to handle wooden implements and build wooden structures,” he explains. Even wooden tools and “wooden ploughs,” he says, had strong aesthetic forms.
Gowda’s recent work investigates the relationship between new developments in physics and Eastern philosophy. Some of his wooden elements are finely carved, others left in their original state. Some are burned black, while others are painted, suggesting a confluence of opposing forces or a psychological narrative. Antarmukhi I (2016), which means introverted or inward-facing, is a carved sculpture that extends both above and below its steel plinth. It’s rough above the plinth, but shaped into careful ridges below.
Gowda’s primary material is salvaged wood, either purchased second-hand or sent to him by friends. This isn’t so much a conceptual choice, as an ethical one, he explains: “The use of salvaged wood lies in my responsibility towards the environment as a human.”